Contributed or bylined articles have long been a staple of public relations strategies in B2B marketing, used to increase awareness and establish the thought leadership authority of a brand or company leaders. They can also be used effectively as an additional channel in content marketing, still maintaining the trust provided by non-promotional content in a third-party publication, but also serving as a link for lead generation.
(Read more about how JONES has successfully used contributed articles as key components of integrated PR and marketing strategies in these posts — Client Success: How To Reach 200,000+ Prospects & Decision Makers Without Buying Ads and Q&A: How JONES and West Use Contributed Articles In Marketing Campaigns.)
There is more to successful use of bylined articles than simply writing a piece and sending it to your publication of choice. The 9 steps outlined here provide a quick look at some of the key tasks and concepts involved.
- Develop a database of targeted publications. Know who you plan to pitch articles to and keep track of submission guidelines, deadlines, and key contacts. Include a variety of broad, industry and niche outlets.
- Create abstracts and pitch topics that tie contributed bylined articles into your integrated marketing and PR strategy. Your pitch should include a short abstract of a topic that relates to an emerging trend in your industry, insights drawn from original research, or commentary related to your industry. These should also related directly to the topics that are a part of your marketing strategy and upcoming campaigns.
- Keep your brand identity and key messaging in mind. Without overtly promoting your company, write bylined articles in a way that keeps your key messaging at the front and reflects the values and benefits of your brand.
- Focus on providing insightful, useful and unique information. Your bylined articles need to provide substance, not just buzzwords. Solve a problem for readers or give them information they won’t find anywhere else in order to establish your executive team and company as industry leaders. (Here is an example of “newsjacking” – using current events as the connection and driver for providing your insights.)
- Follow the publication’s submission guidelines. Details like meeting deadlines, delivering the appropriate word count, following the preferred style guide and keeping the article vendor-neutral are key in building a reputation with editors that means they will accept future articles from you.
- Edit, proofread, and edit again. Send your bylined articles through a rigorous round of editing and proofreading before sending them to the publication. This should include the approval of the executive listed as author, the PR/marketing manager, and any other key information source.
- Promote the article in a variety of ways to maximize its reach. Don’t just send it and forget it. Once the article has been published, be sure your target audience sees it by promoting it on your business blog, social media, in emails to key customers and prospects, and in internal communications to your own marketing, sales and customer service teams.
- Use promotion tactics that bring readers to your website to maximize lead generation. The best way to promote your contributed article and provide lead generation opportunities is by first writing a blog post about it, and then promoting that blog post. This means that links from your social media, emails and other outreach come back to your website, where you can include links not only to the full text of the article, but also to inbound marketing offers.
- Repurpose the content from the article in other marketing and PR materials. Don’t go to all that work just for a single contributed article. Repurpose the content from the article, rewritten for a different audience or developed into a different format, as a blog post, ebook, infographic, video or sales presentation.
Want to go deeper than this quick list? We have resources in our Inbound Learning Library that provide more detail about each step, along with what not to do as you incorporate contributed articles into your overall content marketing strategy. Download How To Get Your CEO Published and our Bylined Articles Best Practices Case Study for more information. Of course, we are always happy to chat with you about the specifics of your brand, marketing strategy, and resourcing needs. Schedule a no-obligation consultation to talk with me about how bylined articles can complement the rest of your content marketing program.